I was stumped at first. Is he just growing up and asserting himself? Probably yes, but I had the feeling it was somehow also related to media and the internet.
The tipping point was when we went to a hotel to have a little family getaway and everywhere we went was a computer or TV. At breakfast there were 3 TV’s on and I watched how my son ate while his eyes only drifted from one TV. to the other.
After breakfast, feeling upset that my considerate, bright, creative son was turning into someone else lately, my partner and I decided to leave the hotel early and get us all outside. We went for a hike on that chilly, sunny day at the Chesterfield Gorge in NH. At arrival, I began to notice a change. We all seemed a little calmer. Our 8 year old began to lead the way, focused on the trail, aware of his surroundings. He didn’t complain about the steep hills or the cold. He led independently and quietly almost the whole way. Occasionally stopping to reflect or show us his amazement in something. We arrived back at the car rejuvenated, more connected as a family. Both boys happily climbed in and in minutes, peacefully fell asleep for the ride home. A lesson learned.